James Eric Watkins

Illusions of Invincibility

Time seems to rise and fall
like the tall-grassy 
memories of man's youth.

In this lifetime 
I’ve seen men at 
their weakest moments,
so low that cracks on dirty
wet porches towered above them
and again, on the summit 
of their most triumphant 
accomplishment.

And now, looking back
I can see that the greatest 
differences in those men 
were not the strength of
their bodies or the money
in their pockets, but their thoughts.

I’ve suffered so much pain 
and the loss of men that I often 
wonder when I might crack and fall.

We called each other brothers. 
We were related by commonalities 
and friendship, a need to be around 
others like us who understood. We all 
had our own stories, some sadder than 
others. But we would grow to understand 
that the blood flowing inside our veins 
does not define our brotherhood. Some of us 
would also grow into feared men, some 
sooner than others. Like men in war, we 
bonded as brothers in arms. Some conquered 
their worlds with illusions of invincibility. 
Many of them are gone now. And now 
that the end is in sight, all the illusions 
I once shared with them subside into 
the past like so many of their faces have. 

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